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  1. #1
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    Darth Hemi Returns... Farking Finally!

    Lets go straight to the point of this post before we get into storytelling: The State of CA finally signed off on the rebuilt, motor-swapped car. I've got my CARB approval sticker and its California-street-legal. I'm back on the road with it again, and in fact on the way back from the referee's appointment, going up a steep hill on the freeway, I had some left-lane-glued bunny-hugger in an anonymous little Asian s**tbox waving a one-finger salute and honking at me as I roared past him.

    Yep... I still got my mojo.

    As most know, in March of 2010 a badly-manufactured Mahle piston killed Darth Hemi's 5.7-based 390 stroker. A motor in otherwise great shape that had close to 30,000 on-track miles on it (no foolin').

    http://www.lxforums.com/board/f74/da...new-ye-207892/



    For sale: 1 used piston. Some assembly required.


    A total disaster, and at that particular time, financially, a complete new stroker motor was not in the cards anytime soon. It turned out that while the struggle to get this done was epic, I didn't go it alone. I had the LX community to lean on. Sometimes knowingly and sometimes not - At times people just helped out behind the scenes. This post is more about thanking everyone properly than it is about saying "woo hoo my car is running."

    Nathan and Lx Friends
    Early on I was contacted by Nathan - RedFoxx0099 - who offered me an extra 6.1L motor he had had sitting on a pallet for awhile, in case he needed it. He gave me a very good price, and we cut a few more bucks off the deal in exchange for some web site work. I was grateful for the deal at the time, but what I didn't know until much, much later was that about a dozen guys had chipped in some money to help with the purchase price. A bit overwhelmed, I privately approached the list of individuals I was given and thanked them. Since it turns out I sort of wasn't supposed to ever find out, thats all I'll say about it except to add this is a *great* community of people, and thats just one of many, many examples of this fact.

    High Horse Performance
    As you can imagine I needed a TON of parts. You can see in that thread that the explosion was ... epic. We were able to safely salvage only a very little from the original motor (plus it was beat on pretty hard and a fresh start was common sense... for example, Bob said that while the cracks that had begun forming in the crank were tiny and hairline, he had never seen a crack get smaller. That was it for the crank, which was probably fine for an ordinary passenger car).

    So ... I needed parts and lots of them. I reached out to Josh at HHP. Despite an appallingly bad economy he cut me a deal on a variety of parts. We're talking nuts, bolts, studs, pumps, springs, gaskets ... you name it. The donor motor was completely gutted and rebuilt just about from the ground up and HHP supplied pretty much everything needed to do that.

    Hemi31 and Cam
    When it comes to bouncing ideas off of someone, or just asking one of many, many WTF type questions, I talk to a lot of people here, but Erik and Cam are my main go-to guys. They are good friends and most importantly they don't just play experts on the internet. They actually know their stuff. Additionally both guys helped me source parts that either I couldn't find at a reasonable price, or had to have *right now*, trying to get past a smog inspection. Their reps pretty much speak for themselves here and elsewhere when it comes to installs, sales, fabrication etc. Count this as one more shout out that they are the real deal.

    Bob Crespo
    Last but not least... Where do I start? The architect behind what was probably the most-abused motor on the LX platform. 30k on-track miles. Bob is the real deal, but here again this is a guy who doesn't need me to make his reputation. I can't say enough about his broad base of knowledge and how handy it is to have a guy with his experience level on tap as the mad scientist in charge of this creation.


    What was done?
    • The 5.7L based 390 stroker (blowed up) was replaced with a 6.1L-based 392 stroker. Like the last time, the build was all about three things: longevity, longevity and longevity. Just about the only thing we kept from the original motor was the modified HHP Stage IV cam, the coated intake manifold the harmonic balancer and the injectors/billet rails (the People's Republic made those last two items go away) . Pretty much the rest was a replacement. This time, the rods were Oliver forged hemispherical I beams which, if you haven't seen them, are pretty much works of art and indestructible. I wish we could have bought 9 of the things so I could keep one as a paperweight or something. The same goes for the pistons, which are custom Manley's.

      Looking at the thing... it pretty much looks like a bone stock 6.1L motor, and thats the idea. It had to pass a rigid visual inspection.

      As I mentioned We tried re-using my Billet Tech fuel rails with crossover and the inspector threw them out (they even made me change to a stock intake manifold gasket because the replacement I had on ... was the wrong color. Gotta love the People's Republic). Again to achieve CARB compliance, we used stock 6.1L headers and cats/midpipes.
    • SRT knuckles went on the front. This is to allow me to run 18x10" wheels and wider 257/35/18 race slicks on the front. You can't do that on RT knuckles. I'll also be able to use 275/40/20 street tires on the front. Thats important to me with respect to tire rotation if I want to have fatter rubber on the back.
    • Hubs were replaced on the rear axle. Given the level of abuse the car has seen, since everything was apart the hubs got redone on general principles.
    • Adjustable rear upper control arms went onto the back. These are the Jay's Body Shop-handmade deals, Serial #0002 (the stickers saying #0001 got wrecked, so mine say #0002... these are the first production units). I have been sitting on these ... forever. They finally went in.
    • The big brakes in the rear got bigger. My 13" Wilwood 2-piece rotors were just about done for. They lasted three years after all. I more than got my money's worth, but given their price to replace, I figured it was time to go to stock SRT rotors so I could use more aggressive rear pads without worrying about replacement rotor cost. Since the old Wilwood FSL calipers couldn't take a rotor that big, off they came and on went Wilwood BSL4's, along with stock SRT rear rotors. Note I did not put on 6-piston calipers. My original calipers on the front were Wilwood BSL6's, and when those were upgraded a few years back I looked into moving them to the back... BSL6's have too much clamping force. The BSL4 is the way to go. The brackets for them were custom-made by Todd TCE... anyone else who wants +2 big rear Wilwood brakes on an RT can talk to him about using the same setup now that its been done. I can already tell they do more work than the FSL's, and now I should be able to use H type track pads in the rear and finally, fully balance the heat going into the brake system -- to the point where no bleeding is necessary at all during the day.
    • Bungs were welded and gauges were added for oil and tranny fluid temp. I used the same Autometer 4356 gauge for both fluids. Both are full sweep and peak at 340 degrees. They are mounted in a Speedlogix overhead gauge pod.



    What still needs doing?
    • I have two front hubs sitting here that didn't make it on.
    • The 3 qt Accusump with automatic pressure-sensitive switch, and separate manual switch, stayed off the car pending passage of the smog inspection.

    What took so damn long?
    Great question. I'm glad you asked. Actually not so much. Everything that could get in the way, did. For 6 months I was storing up money. Then I got that taken care of and it seemed like it was one delay after the other with parts that we thought would work going out the window (Melling oil pump, Milodon road race oil pan to name just a couple), additional parts being needed when it turned out we couldn't re-use something etc. etc. When the project was in its final assembly stage and days from being done (for the motor, at least) Bob and his shop, SVS R&D, got into a messy and very final divorce. From there Bob took the project over at home in his spare time, and things just moved forward very slowly with the tuning, suspension and brake work. Then the People's Republic weighed in and threw a wrench into everything when the inspector failed the motor swap with extreme prejudice. He basically looked for everything he could think of, and even failed stock parts in error. All kinds of stuff had to come back apart to get the thing into compliance.

    Speaking of which, thanks go out to another member of the LX community who I *think* needs to remain nameless (?) - I was able to get a 6.1L PCM flashed to my RT VIN and this was crucial to getting the motor eventually approved.

    Finally... only Two and a Half Years Later, I passed the second referee inspection and got my magical custom-printed CARB seal of approval.

    How does it run?
    Dam strong. Due to the health emergency Bob had to go thru at the very tail end of this adventure, it hasn't been dyno'd and is running on a conservative tune. But when running on the old 5.7L PCM with a basic tune and a stock intake it ran right about the same curves as the old 5.7L stroker. Its got more to give, when we can get it into the shop to wring it out.

    Something neat/interesting also happened: My catback is a custom-built Zoomers system designed to be free-flowing but to also pass Laguna Seca's 92db sound limit. Its 4 mufflers and 2 sidecar resonators accomplish that task, but there was a price: It droned a fair bit at certain rpm's. Well, replacing JBA shorties and HHP hi flow cats with stock SRT parts has rendered the system completely drone-free. And if anything it sounds more badass... but its not loud. Thats been a pleasant surprise.

    Let me close out with another thank-you to some great people.
    A *long* time ago, Heidi at Billet Technology asked me some oddball questions about what my favorite on-track pic was of my car. I told her and didn't think much of it, until, in the mail, I got one of the nicest surprise gifts from a friend that I have gotten in a long time. Unfortunately by the time I got it the motor had already blown up and the car was gone on its epic journey. Its sat on my desk (looking very nice) for two years. Well finally, at last its on the car and I can show it off and properly say Thank You:

    They turned this picture


    Into this fuse box cover, and gave it to me as a gift


    How cool is that?
    Last edited by MattRobertson; 09-10-2012 at 08:01 PM.
    "LxF welcomes with open arms all members, regardless of social status, creed, color, sexual preference, or anything else. The only thing we discriminate against is douchebags."

    Check out Darth Hemi in the LxForums Garage



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Way overdue... cannot wait to see those race vids again.

    Congrats to all involved!

    10.29@132 N/A 468 (high comp alum block) in 2005 Magnum R/T
    [email protected] N/A 5.7 (high comp old 5.7) in 2010 Challenger R/T
    [email protected] N/A 5.7 (stock Eagle) in 2010 Challenger R/T

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Arizona
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    OK, I will say it.
    Whoooooooo hoooooooo, Matt!!!!!!
    Last edited by MAGFX; 09-10-2012 at 05:54 PM.

    When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
    My friends call me JONN (usually).


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Huzzah!

    "
    He is just fast everywhere"
    - FlyByU

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Old Hickory, TN
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    Eat some asphalt, we need to lead our fantasy lives as F1 drivers through you. And plan a trip somewhere east of the Mississippi.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Way to go - quite the saga !
    10.67 NA/ 10.20 w/125 shot @ full weight
    2006 Chrysler 300 SRT; 426cid, 11.5:1 by BFNY and Billy Briggs Racing; BFNY/Frank Cam, 6.1 Heads by Thitek; Arrington ported intake and TB; American Racing Headers and full catback; Paramount trans w/brake; FTI 4000 converter; DSS Driveshaft, Scat Pack rear cradle and ZF Diff w/3.90 gears, Nitrous Outlet Plate System

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattRobertson View Post
    Darth Hemi Returns... Farking Finally!
    Who?





































    /me runs
    BFNY Performance
    9515 Detroit Rd,Cleveland Ohio 44102
    440-787-7235 8am- 5pm

    [email protected]
    RIP NHDave
    RIP LOU1355

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Well it's about phuckin' time... Maybe now you'll be in a better mood around here...







    Congrats Matt! Can't wait for the updates...
    "Hey man, cool Prius!" - No One, EVER
    "It's not that I'm old - your music really does suck..."
    See The Iron Mistress Galleries
    ***
    R.I.P. Dave (nhdave) Coults ***
    *** R.I.P. Mark (MAGNUM8R) Paulson ***
    *** R.I.P. Rich (CtCruzer) Wesley ***

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Pompano Beach, Florida
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    Awesome ... once again the Family comes together to do what's right. I love this place!
    Hemi Registry 0436 PWR Forged 6.1 block -YSI @20psi -Modern Muscle Performance Stage3+ manifold and custom cam - 90mmTB- Indy Heads - TTI Longtubes - Enhanced(hemi31) TC/Transmission - HemiTuner TCM - BFNY 3.06 Getrag-325/45/17M&H 9.937 @ 138

  10. #10
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    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by monty1269 View Post
    once again the Family comes together
    That can't be stressed enough!

    As for going back to track racing... right now I just want to be able to enjoy the car without worrying about wadding it up for another two years. On the list of things not finished I forgot this: About 1 1/2 years ago, when it looked like SVS was about to finish the car, I paid in full for the materials on a really awesome roll bar setup. Now that I have the car back, no way I am going to part with it for any length of time to put in a cage... plus I sold my track wheels - I can use bigger ones now.

    I think its a safe bet that I will not be back on track until the 2013 season, and when I do go back I can already tell I need to start in the noobie groups at least for awhile and get the feel back for the car when its cornering at Ridiculous Speed. I'm totally tentative right now and don't have a feel for where the limit is anymore. Gotta learn that back.
    Last edited by MattRobertson; 09-10-2012 at 07:18 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Sweet, its all about the adventure and the friends you meet along the way. Thanks for sharing and I cant wait to see the pictures

  12. #12
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    Nov 2005
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    New York
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    nice great news Matt.... and that took 3 minutes to type ... right?

    12.869 @ 102.02 Stock 5.7 w/ C&L, Predator, JBA Cats, Volant catback, 3.06 Getrag, DRs & skinnies www.hemirace.com
    Currently 12.26 @ 111+MPH with a completely Stock 6.1 4,250 lbs.

  13. #13
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    Oct 2006
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    orlando, fl
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    matt, you actually own an lx???? i thought you just worked here????



















    lol....... good news matt. glad to hear things are together and running. i will say one thing after reading your comments......i sure do not miss living in california........ phuk that........lol
    ‚Äčwww.legmakerintakes.com
    9.39 @ 148 mph P
    WR forged 6.1 Procharger F1A Nitrous Outlet
    AfterHours Mopar Perf. installed!!!

    "This is what I love about drag racing. I feel an intense focus as everything is extremely loud and quiet around me simultaneously. Nothing else besides me and my immediate environment exists for these short moments." - Budoboy

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    congrats on getting your ride back, Matt.
    now get out there and enjoy it.

  15. #15
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    Aug 2009
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    Moscow Mills, MO - NW of St. Louis
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    Congratulations Matt!
    09 Plymouth SRT8/6SPD - CAI, Predator, 180, Reso Delete, Hurst Shifter, SLP Line-Lock, Sequential Taillights, Autometer Shift light, Metco driveshaft loop, Valentine One, AFCO coilovers, Arrington 85mm TB w/NOS, Nitrous Express, SLP line-lock, Poly motor mounts, Pedders Front Bushings, Pedders Rear Cradle Bushings, Razor's Edge Froont and Rear Strut Braces, Chubby Pro sway bars. 12.369/110.51 MPH in 1/4, 1.724 sixty foot time.


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